A black cloud 

I should be writing another update on how I’ve been looking after myself better, but I can’t be bothered. I could share some pictures of the the kids and some updates on the hilarious stuff Iris has said recently. But I don’t want to. 

A combination of stuff (yes, the referendum is a big one) has left me feeling a little low and quite a bit glum. 

I’m struggling again. 

I’m even finding parenting hard. It feels like Astrid never stops crying and I don’t seem to be able to make her happy. Iris can’t cope with Astrid screaming and getting all of my attention, so has started hitting when she has tantrums. It’s all getting a bit much. I can’t wait for Trevor to get home each evening to take the pressure off. 

I never felt like I wanted a break from Iris as a baby, but I’d love a break from Astrid and I feel so guilty about that. 

Don’t get me wrong, she’s a wonderful baby and I love her so much that it hurts. She has the biggest most beautiful grin and she laughs so loud when Iris is being silly for her. When she’s happy she’s really happy, and she’s absolutely delightful. 

But when she screams she’s relentless and nothing I do helps her. She’s does it in public. The bus station, on the bus, in cafes. She doesn’t care. But I do. Because it’s so bloody stressful. 

I’m too tired to write. 

I’ve got a prescription to help, because I know from experience that a black cloud like this one won’t just pass on by without help. 

This weekend we’re off camping with my friends. Between us we have 20 children, and its forecast to rain all weekend. It’s going to be hard work. 

But I hope it’s also the brief break from real life that I need right now. 

Hopefully next week will be better. 

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The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 3} 

I’m late with this. Actually, scrap that. There is no this. 

I lost zero weight. I attended one dance class. 

That’s not the point. 

I haven’t written anything because I don’t feel like writing. It feels a bit like the world has taken the final step in turning to shit. 

Excuse my language. 

Two

It’s an emotional one for me, this one. Silly as that may seem. She’s two. My big girl is two. Not a baby anymore. 

I thought one was a difficult one, but it wasn’t like this. She was still a baby. 

The health visitor came on Friday and we talked about school admissions. I struggled to hold it together. I’ve been struggling since. 

I didn’t want babies when I got pregnant with Iris. I really really did not want babies any time soon. I’d recently escaped a relationship that had felt much like a prison sentence. I had some freedom for the first time in some while. And then it was gone again. And I mourned it. I mourned for many many months and sometimes I think I’m still not over it. 

Like now. I feel like that lately. 

I miss my friends, my family, my career and the ability to do whatever the hell I like whenever I like. 

I didn’t want babies and I most definitely did not want to move to the valleys. 

But that’s what happened and here we all are, and most of the time it’s all rather fabulous. 

Most of the time. 

And now she’s two. 

There’s nobody else like her. She’s the whole world. I love her so much it’s like a physical pain sometimes. I constantly feel terrified that I’ll let her down, and frequently realise that I do. So often. And I hate that. 

It’s been a busy weekend of mostly good things, and I know that Iris has had the best time ever. She’d been singing happy birthday to herself for at least a week before anybody sang it to her. We moved it by two days and celebrated early so that she could be with her big sisters and Trevor could be off work. We stayed up late after she’d gone to bed the night before to put together and wrap a big plastic play house that takes up most of the living room. She liked the house, but was more interested in the balloons! 

We had a big picnic with lots of her friends and my friends in the afternoon, and the sun forgot to shine and it was chilly. She didn’t care so we didn’t either. 

On Sunday we sang happy birthday again with grandma and there were yet more presents. 

And today we went on trains and boats and ran around Bute Park, and Iris was so very happy. 

In the few short months since Astrid has joined us, Iris has completely transformed. From tiny wobbly toddler with a handful of words, to a full on walking and talking-in-sentences person. With it have come tantrums and huge meltdowns and flailing limbs that regularly smack me in the face, but mostly it’s bought the ability to communicate with us and tell us what she needs. It’s bought more laughter, as she’s learnt to crack jokes and blame her farts on her dad. Her sentence structures are strange and hilarious, and oh so painfully cute. I’ve loved every age so far, but right now I just want to absorb her. To take in every tiny little detail from the dimples in her cheeks to the mispronounciations of her words. The way she kisses me if I seem sad. The way she laughs and when I ask her what’s so funny she says it’s baby Astrid’s face. The way she helps Trevor to wash his hair and beard and shampoos his eyes. Her funny run. How she tells off strangers who cycle without a helmet or wear socks with their sandals. The way she insists on wearing ‘big boy pants’ at home sometimes only to make puddles all over the floor moments later because she’s not really ready. How she pulls out a dining chair to stand on anytime anybody does anything in the kitchen because she wants to help. Her obsession with ball games. How she says ‘stand back from the horsey poo!’ when we’re out walking the dog. How she inspects every stone and flower and leaf, and stops to sit down and look for ants. How she calls me Mummy Mouse.  

I can’t keep her at this age though. She can’t be frozen in time and grow she will. She’ll go to school, be as tall as me one day. And it hurts. 

The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 2} 

I can’t decide if this week has been a good one or a bad one. It’s been a real mixture of both. 

It’s been another tough one in terms of parenting. The little ones have colds and are grumpy, so we haven’t got out much. I find it so tricky at home. It’s so easy to settle down on the sofa with a packet of biscuits. 

Then at the weekend, my 7 year old step daughter became 8. There was dinner in Frankie & Bennys’s (she always picks there because they sing happy birthday to you!) and a huge chocolate birthday cake. I was quite good though, and only had a smallish piece. I’ve made up for it by being very good ever since. 

I haven’t gone back to eating a huge bar of chocolate every evening either, despite Trevor not believing me and buying it on his way home from work! 

I didn’t manage any dance classes at all last week, because of the grumpy little ones, but I did drag us all out of bed and out into the pouring rain this morning to dance. I’m so glad I did. We’re all soaked through, but I feel good. 

I got a bit of a shock on the scales this morning when I found out that I’d lost 8 whole lbs! Hooray! The jeans are still more important than the scales, but I’m nowhere near the point of trying those on yet. Hopefully soon! 

*last image cropped from a screengrab of the Happy Scale app* 

The SnugglyBabies car mirror 

I was pretty excited to receive the SnugglyBabies car mirror. Even second time around, I’m one of those parents that checks their sleeping child is still breathing several times a minute. I’m even worse in the car.

When Iris was tiny, and the big two stayed with us, I had to sit in the front so that the kids could sit in the back. This meant I couldn’t see Iris. I bought a rubbish mirror that was all fabric and velcro, and I could never get it to stay sitting at the correct angle for me to be able to see her from the front. Instead I constantly bugged the kids by asking if she was ok every few seconds.

This time around we have the van, with two rows of seats in the back, and even with all of us inside there’s room for me to sit next to Astrid. When it’s just the four of us it’s great to have the opportunity to hop into the middle row to chat with Iris while Astrid sleeps, and still be able to keep an eye on her. The fabric Velcro thing just wasn’t doing the job though.

I’m not really sure why the fabric Velcro thing exists. Why didn’t anybody think of a proper mirror, framed in proper plastic and with proper sturdy fastenings before? Maybe they did, but I didn’t see such a thing when I googled and googled when Iris was new.
Proper brackets attach the mirror to the headrest stalks, and it can be tightened so that it doesn’t move around when you go over bumps. A second bracket means you can adjust how far the mirrors stands out from the head rest, and then the mirror can be turned around 360 degrees.

Img Credit: Snuggly Babies website

We’ve been using the mirror for a few weeks now, and it definitely puts my mind at ease in the van. For more information, check out the Snuggly Babies website. It is available to buy now on Amazon where it is currently less than half price!

 

 

*We were gifted the Snuggly Babies car mirror for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.*

Leggings from Lidl and my lowest parenting low

Right now, as I write this, my children are both sleeping. I have a cup of coffee that I’ve just made, and it’s hot. It hasn’t had the chance to go cold, like all of the other cups of coffee I’ve made today. I’ve got my laptop out, instead of drafting this on my phone while breastfeeding or sitting on a bus. From my perch, right in this moment, parenting two under two seems pretty good. We’ve baked cakes and even done some painting today. We’re doing ok.

Alright, it’s not perfect. I’m sat at Iris’s little play table and chairs because the children have taken one sofa each. I’m not comfortable. I’m trying really really really hard not to eat the packet of chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard, and actually I would have quite liked to venture out somewhere today. I just wasn’t brave enough. And it’s just way too bloody hot. Also, I’ve already posted a blog post today and posting more than once a day feels weird. I can’t explain it.

I am so bloody tired.

I get sick of hearing myself complain about being tired. I get sick of the sound of my own voice. Iris, please don’t lick the dog. No, don’t eat his food either. Yes, we do need to change your nappy. Must we watch the same Bing DVD again? What do you want for lunch? No, ice cream doesn’t count as lunch. If you climb up there you could fall and hurt yourself. Please don’t poke Astrid. Yes, I know she’s biting you but she doesn’t have any teeth so it’s ok. No, you can’t bite her back. You have lots of teeth, very very shiny teeth.

Well that didn’t last. Astrid was up, and now she’s back down. I didn’t even finish my coffee.

Let’s talk about Astrid actually. I’ve come to the conclusion that she hates summer. She’s cried almost non-stop since the weather got nice. It’s not nice now. It’s grey and dark and overcast but BOILING HOT. After spending the first chunk of the year counting down the minutes until summer arrives, I now want it to just get lost. Give me snow, blizzards, heavy rain and sub-zero temperatures. Anything to stop my baby crying.

Yesterday I reached an all-time parenting low.

Monday was rubbish. Really awful. Astrid cried all day long. I really needed to do some housework because it’s so messy in our house it’s making me itch. I just can’t relax while it’s like this. I achieved nothing. Not a thing.

So yesterday I came to the conclusion that if I am to achieve nothing at home apart from being grumpy and being screamed at, we may as well go out. Nothing adventurous. I wanted to check out the bargain exercise wear in Lidl, and Iris has library books that are due back.

Oh wow, was getting out of the house hard. The screaming! Iris kept running away when she was supposed to be getting dressed. I couldn’t find my clothes because I haven’t put any laundry away in about a year or something. Iris got out pretty much every toy we own, and I can’t go out with toys out because the dog will bloody eat them.

Anyway, we got out around lunch time. I thought I’d feed Iris from Lidl’s bakery and she could eat in the pushchair from there to the library.

HA!

The bus journey was horrific. Iris wanted out of the pushchair, but judging by Astrid’s screams so did she. An old man commented on the crying. Yes, she has been making that horrific noise since she woke up this morning and I have noticed she sounds quite sad thank you very much. I ended up juggling two children and a bloody great big empty double pushchair. Not easy.

On arrival in town, I convinced Iris to get back in, and strapped in a screaming Astrid because holding her wasn’t making her happier anyway. Every few feet I had to stop, try to console Astrid, try to convince her to take a dummy, sit on a curb and try to feed her. Nothing. Nothing works. She’s red faced and furious and I have absolutely no idea how to make that better. Half an hour later and we’ve walked about quarter of the way to Lidl. I give up and dive into a cafe we go to a lot, but stopped going to because Astrid is always screaming and we never go out anymore.

Iris wanted spaghetti hoops, until they arrived and she didn’t want them anymore. They ended up all over the floor. The cafe manager held a screaming Astrid while I scoffed a sandwich as fast as I could. I tried to make a break as soon as I’d finished eating, but the cafe manager insisted on coming to Lidl with us.

So she pushed the huge tank of a pushchair and I carried a nearly naked Astrid (I’d stripped her off because she was red hot from the yelling). My pushchair takes some getting used to and she crashed a lot.

After a doughnut from the bakery, Iris nodded off. I thanked the cafe manager (who is so lovely!) and made a break for home  Screw the library. I’d rather be fined than take my horrific children in there. I almost got back to the bus station. Almost.

Instead I broke down. Properly lost it. I took Astrid out of the pushchair, sat on some steps and rang my mum in a hysterical mess. There wasn’t much point. She couldn’t really hear me over the screaming. While mum consoled me, a tall man with a ginger beard approached me and said “perhaps if you put your phone away you’ll be able to calm your baby…..” and I thought oh here we go, you want a fight Mr Judgeypants??

Then he showed me his police badge. Oh.

I hung up on my mum (sorry mum) and tried to explain that I just wanted to buy some leggings to wear to the dance class I don’t actually go to because my baby never stops crying, but it had all been really hard work because my baby never stops crying and I haven’t slept for two years, and we never leave the house anymore which isn’t good because the house looks like its been ransacked and it’s all just got a bit too much.

His expression told me that he was concerned for the safety of both my screaming baby and my fast asleep toddler. Oh crap.

While I tried to convince him that I wasn’t a danger to my children without implying that that’s what he was thinking just in case he wasn’t thinking that at all, he pushed my pushchair and sleeping toddler to the bus station. Astrid finally stopped screaming in my arms. He told me he has four kids, a bit older than mine, and that he knows what screaming babies can do to a usually capable person. Despite my insistence that I’m fine, reeeeally I am he called a couple of PCSOs to help me get home. Yes really.

They helped me onto the bus, sat with me on the bus, helped me off the bus, and helped me into my house. For real. I don’t even know where they went after that.

Loads of people who I don’t actually know but who I see all of the time saw it all. I felt like a bit of a wally.

But I arrived home with a sleeping toddler in a pushchair and a sleeping nearly-naked baby in my arms.

I was ashamed.

Today, I am not. My faith in humans is restored. Well sort of. The news is full of stupid politicians and entitled men getting away with the worst of crimes. But my faith is restored a teeny bit.

And I’m not leaving the house alone with these two monsters again for a while.

The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 1}

It’s seems my timing with starting this was way off. It’s been a really tough week. Astrid has been upset, and really hard work. I haven’t made it to my dance classes, and I haven’t had a chance to exercise at home either. We have started taking the dog for a walk as a family in the evenings, which is lovely. I’m not sure it counts as exercise though, as walking at a toddler’s pace isn’t going to get my heart working! Especially as she wants to stop to examine every stone, and to count all of the horse poops. I did splash out on some very cheap workout clothes in Lidl this week though. They’ve got some really good bargain leggings! 

I haven’t lost any weight. I’m not too concerned about that. The next few weeks are more about changing my habits to healthier ones. I’ve eaten a lot less biscuits this week, and I’ve stopped sitting down once the kids are asleep with a huge bar of chocolate. Annoyingly Iris has a new hobby, and keeps asking to make cakes and biscuits. It’s been difficult to help with the baking but not eat all of the finished product! 

My challenge for the week ahead is to cook and eat some healthier meals. I’ve got a slow cooker and a spiralizer, so I’m well equipped. I just have to practise cooking while wearing a sad clingy baby. If anybody has any healthy but tasty vegetarian recipes to share please do! 

Here’s to a better week ahead.